Avocado on toast in one of life's most unexpected, but simple pleasures. So it might come as a shock when I tell you to stop it, stop that pleasure right now, damn it. Avocados, it seems, are directly responsible for causing catastrophic maladies not only on the environment, but on human life as well. You can rattle on all you'd like about "super foods" and "good fats", but those creamy fruits you're smashing with feta and rubbing on your sourdough (or alternatively paying some artisanal cafe $20 to do for you), are literally destroying the planet.
Ethical vegans and vegetarians should know: it's not just meat that's responsible for felled forests, wasted natural resources and wanton death. Avocados, which might set you back between $2 and $4 a piece depending on where you live, are just as responsible for the aforementioned calamities. So even if eating ethically isn't a priority for you, your wallet will thank you for leaving the avocados off your weekly shopping list. Here's exactly why you should stop eating avocados immediately, and why that's not such a controversial opinion after all. So put down that nacho piled high with guacamole, and just listen.
1. Avocado Production Is Systematically Destroying Mexico’s Forests
Most of America's avocados come from Mexico. This has something to do with the fact that the peso fell upwards of 16 per cent to the American dollar last year, while the price of avocados went from 86 cents to $1.10--meaning that the exchange rate made Mexican avocados more desirable to U.S. customers than the locally produced fruit. With demand skyrocketing, and avocados thriving in the same conditions as pine and fir trees, much of Mexico is being deforested to make room for your future green smoothie.
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The drastic thinning of Mexico's forests also poses a threat to the monarch butterfly (native to the region), and welcomes heavy infrastructure like roads, trucks and machinery that erode and pollute the natural environment. Add to that the demanding thirst of avocados (which is nearly twice as much than the natural forest, but more on that later) and many of Mexico's mythologized, pristine mountain streams are being sucked dry too.
2. Mexican Drug Cartels Are Killing Over Avocados
The destruction of the forest isn't the only visible and devastating impact of avocado production in Mexico. Much of Mexico's avocado agriculture happens in Michoacán, an area controlled by the Caballeros Templarios drug cartel. The cartel demands income percentage payment from local farmers, taxes fruit sold as well as farm land, and often kills people, and the families of people, who don't cooperate. Yes, people are dying for your Mexican avocados.
3. Avocados Need An Absurd Amount Of Water To Grow
I know what you're thinking: "But we don't need to buy Mexican avocados! We can buy locally sourced, organically grown avocados from places like California! Then we can eat avocados completely ethically and guilt free!" Nice try. Avocados take around 74 gallons of water just to grow one pound. California is in a terrible drought, so it's not ideal to be spending what little water is left in an increasingly parched state on growing avocados. And in Mexico, we already know natural resources are being depleted for avocado farms, while in Chile, precious groundwater is being used to water crops.
4. Mexico Isn’t The Only Place Where Avocados Fuel Violence
In New Zealand, a single avocado can fetch up to $6. Because of a surge in demand for avocados over the past year, with an extra 96,000 NZ households adding the fruit to their weekly shopping lists, local avocado farmers have been unable to keep up with the new market demands. As a result, thieves have been stealing avocados directly from farms under the cover of night--since January 2016 there have been nearly 40 reported thefts, with up to 350 avocados being stolen each time. This isn't only a problem for the farmers who are losing their bread and buttercado, but for the people buying these black market avocados which may be unripe, or even uncleaned with toxins from pesticides still on the skin.